This post will be updated with the latest news in Black art throughout the week

Portrait of Gary Simmons. | Photo by Tito Molina, HRDWRKER

March 25, 2021

Smithsonian Hiring 6 New Museum Directors
For the first time in its history, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., is searching for directors for six museums–four existing museums (National Museum of African Art, National Air and Space Museum, National Museum of the American Indian, Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City) and two new museums authorized by Congress in December (the National Museum of the American Latino and the American Women’s History Museum). | Washington Post


Gary Simmons Joined Hauser & Wirth
Hauser & Wirth gallery announced its representation of artist Gary Simmons. “Over the past thirty years, Gary has achieved an incredibly rare alchemy of feeling with his paintings, installations, sound works and sculptures. Simultaneously depicting and erasing—a process that in itself suggests the strange, willful impermanence of American culture—he’s created a powerful artistic language to express the personal and collective experience of Black Americans,” Marc Payot, president of Hauser & Wirth said in a statement. New York-born Simmons is based in Los Angeles. “Gary Simmons: The Engine Room” opens next week at Henry Art Gallery in Seattle. His first exhibition with Hauser & Wirth will be on view in Los Angeles in 2022.


Paul Cooper Gallery Announced its Representation of Veronica Ryan
Artist Veronica Ryan is now represented by Paula Cooper Gallery, where her solo exhibition “Veronica Ryan: Weather Inside” was presented in fall 2019. Describing her work, the gallery said “Ryan’s evocative sculptures and installations employ a wide range of materials, including bronze, plaster, marble, textiles and found objects, and a similar breadth of processes, from casting and carving to stitching, modeling and assembling. Much of her work draws on personal memories and experiences, making connections across time and place and reflecting the wider psychological implications of history, trauma and recovery.” Born in Plymouth, Montserrat, Ryan grew up in England. Today, she splits her time between New York and the UK. Awarded the Windrush Commission, Ryan created a public artwork honoring the Windrush generation that immigrated from the Caribbean to the United Kingdom that will be unveiled in London’s Hackney Town Hall Square this fall. She also received the 2018 Freelands Award, which includes a major exhibition of new works, “Veronica Ryan: Along A Spectrum,” opening in May on Spike Island in Bristol. | via email


Veronica Ryan at Spike Island in 2018. | Photo by Jeff Moore, Courtesy Spike Island, Bristol

March 24, 2021

National Gallery of Art’s CASVA Announces Paid Internship Program with Howard University
The Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., is partnering with Howard University, establishing a multiyear, paid undergraduate internship program with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The Center said the program “aims to create pathways to careers in museums and arts-related organizations for students from historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and other institutions that serve populations that are underrepresented in the museum field.” The first group of interns will start at the National Gallery of Art (NGA) in Fall 2022.


International African American Museum Names New CEO
The forthcoming International African American Museum (IAAM) in Charleston, S.C., announced the appointment of Tonya M. Matthews (right) as CEO. A biomedical engineer, she brings a range of skills and experience, including organizational leadership, strategic planning, diversity and inclusion, program development, project management, and community engagement. The founder of The STEMinista Project, a national initiative focused on exposing middle-school girls to STEM tools and careers, Matthews most recently served as associate provost of Inclusive Workforce Development and director of the STEM Innovation Learning Center at Wayne State University in Detroit. Previously, she was vice president of museums for the Cincinnati Museum Center and acting director of inclusion for the American Alliance of Museums. IAAM is currently under construction and is expected to open 2022. | IMAGE: Tonya M. Matthews. | Courtesy IAAM


Zimbabwe Announces Four Artists for Venice Biennale in 2022
Four artists have been selected to represent Zimbabwe at the 59th Venice Biennale in 2022. Kresiah Mukwazhi, Wallen Mapondera, Ronald Muchatuta, and Terrence Musekiwa will participate in a group exhibition curated by Fadzai Muchemwa in Zimbabwe’s Pavilion. The news was announced by Kirsty Coventry, minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation, at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Harare. | 3-Mob Radio


American Academy of Arts and Letters 2021 Art Awards
The American Academy of Arts and Letters announced 2021 awards to 18 artists, plus 21 purchase prizes. The award winners include Lisa Corinne Davis, Coco Fusco, Thaddeus Mosley, and Ming Smith (11 Arts and Letters Awards in Art, $10,000); Jane Quick-to-See Smith and Jessica Stockholder (2 Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Awards in Art, $10,000); Lauren Halsey and Reggie Burrows Hodges (2 Jacob Lawrence Awards in Arts, $10,000); Jennifer Packer (John Koch Awards in Art for young figurative artists, $10,000); Jerrell Gibbs (Rosenthal Family Foundation Award in Art to a young painter of distinction, $10,000); Laylah Ali, Maren Hassinger, Leslie Hewitt, Forrest Kirk, Dread Scott, Lava Thomas, William Villalongo, and Peter Williams (21 Art Purchase Prizes). Artists will be recognized during a virtual ceremony May 19.


California African American Museum Reopening March 27
This Saturday, March 27, the California African American Museum will reopen to the public after being closed for more than a year in the wake of COVID-19. Admission remains free. The Los Angeles museum is showcasing five exhibitions: “Sula Bermúdez-Silverman: Neither Fish, Flesh, nor Fowl”; “Nikita Gale: PRIVATE DANCER”; “Men of Change: Power. Triumph. Truth”; “Sanctuary: Recent Acquisitions to the Permanent Collection”; and “Enunciated Life.” Most of the exhibitions were set to debut in spring 2020 before the onset of the pandemic and now will continue through the spring or summer of this year.

March 23, 2021

Glenstone is Reopening Its Galleries, Debuting Faith Ringgold Exhibition, Glenn Ligon Installation
In Potomac, Md., Glenstone Museum announced it is continuing its phased reopening after temporarily closing in November due to COVID-19. The Gallery space will open April 8, debuting the only U.S. presentation of “Faith Ringgold,” a monographic survey featuring more than 70 works. On May 6, the Pavilions will open, showcasing selections from Glenstone’s collection, including “Warm Broad Glow II” (2011), a large-scale neon text work by Glenn Ligon the reads “Negro Sunshine.” Earlier this month, on March 4, the private museum, which blends art, architecture, and nature, began welcoming visitors for an outdoor-only experience.


March 22, 2021

Artists’ Legacy Foundation Adds Franklin Sirmans to Board
Franklin Sirmans, director of the Pérez Art Museum Miami, has been appointed to the board of directors of the Artists’ Legacy Foundation. The Oakland, California–based nonprofit was founded by two women artists, painter Squeak Carnwath and sculptor Viola Frey, and community advocate Gary Knecht, with “a vision centered on painters and sculptors coming together to support and encourage fellow artists through awards and grants, promoting and protecting the legacy of deceased ‘Legacy Artists,’ and generally supporting the visual arts, especially where the hand of the artist is a significant factor in making art.” Recipients of the foundation’s artist award include Peter Williams (2020), Howardena Pindell (2019), and John Outterbridge (2010).


National Gallery of Art Hires Deputy Director
The National Gallery of Art announced the appointment of Eric L. Motley as deputy directory today. He will join the executive ranks of the Washington, D.C., museum and “be responsible for developing and deploying a national strategy for the museum through civic, cultural, and philanthropic partnerships, and advancing the National Gallery’s renewed mission in tandem with its operational and revenue-generation plans.” | Culture Type


Germany to Return Benin Bronzes to Nigeria
Andreas Görgen, head of Germany’s Foreign Ministry’s culture department, says European nation plans full restitution of the looted Benin bronzes in its public collections. The commitment would make Germany the first country to permanently return the historic works to the their home nation of Nigeria. About 25 German museums are known to have looted objects from Benin among their holdings. | The Art Newspaper


Inaugural Artists in Residence Named at Weinberg/Newton Gallery
Weinberg/Newton Gallery, a non-commercial gallery in Chicago, announced artist collective A Long Walk Home (ALWH) as inaugural recipients of its Art & Advocacy Residency. The opportunity is designed to raise awareness about social justice issues by collaborating with artists and includes a stipend and use of the gallery space for 12 weeks. ALWH artists Scheherazade Tillet, Robert Narciso, and Leah Gipson will produce The Visibility Project: Black Girlhood Altar, installing throughout Chicago four temporary monuments to missing and murdered Black girls. | via email


Internship Opportunities and More at Studio Museum in Harlem
The Studio Museum in Harlem extended the application deadline for its 2021 Summer Internships to March 28. The 10-week internships run June 7-Aug. 13, provide opportunities in a variety of departments, and include a stipend. The museum is also hiring for a few full-time staff positions.


IMAGE: Above right, Benin bronze | via The Art Newspaper


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